And so, here I was with the FOURTH book in the series and with a really hard choice: start from the beginning or going against all my normal behavior (I'm a freak for series and reading order) and try to enjoy the fourth book all by itself? I chose the second option and read the book in one day, all the more than 300 pages.
Adrien English is an uptight, a bit aloof, but in the end an hopelessly romantic man. A bookseller and mystery writer by day and amateur sleuth by night, he always finishes in the wrong place at the right moment. Like this time, at an Hollywood party where a guest is poisoned. As in all the right Agatha Christie style mystery (or Ellery Queen... actually Adrien reminds me a bit of Ellery Queen...), all the possible suspects are in the room, and Adrien English is among them. And like by chance, the detective that arrives to the crime scene is Jake Riordan, Adrien's former lover and closeted gay married man (I didn't know that Los Angeles Police Department was so small...).
Anyway, even if at first Adrien doens't want to be involved, he cannot avoid it, and obviously dealing again with Jake doesn't do good to his relationship with Guy, his lover for the last two years, soon after the break up with Jake (mmm, a bit soon Adrien to start something with another man, this is not good for your imagine with the romance readers...). Then there is Paul Kane, an Hollywood actor who is whispered to be gay and who claimed to be a five years lover of Jake: five years means that he was with Jake two years before Adrien, and all during their relationship and also after their break up... so it appears that Adrien was not the first male lover for Jake as he believed (well this is good for Adrien's imagine with romance readers, since Jake is a liar, and Adrien did good leaving him and trying to rebuild a life with another man...).
Actually all the romantic readers obviously fan for Adrien to be with Jake (you never forget your real love...) and Josh Lanyon plays with them: yes, since Jake is married, so if he tries something with Adrien, he would be a cheating man, absolutely to avoid in a romance... but if between Adrien and Jake is true love, and Jake's wife is not a so positive character? Then there is the little problem of Adrien and Guy's relationship... Guy is the perfect boyfriend, tender and caring, handsome and clever; betray him is like kicking a puppy... but if he auto-deletes himself from the scene?
So here we are, reading of the developing mystery case, while greedily searching for the romantic details about Adrien and Jake. This book is double-faced: if read by a mystery lover, he would search for the culprit, and he would be not disappointed since the romance part is not obtrusive; if read by a romance lover, she would search for the final pair of lovers, and she would be not disappointed since the mystery part leaves space to the romance, and even to some erotic scene.
If you are like me, series order freaks, don't worry: you can pick up this book and read it stand alone, then if in the end you liked Adrien, and want to know more about him, you can read also the previous books, or instead wait for the fifth book where, accordingly to Josh Lanyon, all will be tighten up.
Amazon: Death of a Pirate King
Amazon Kindle: Death of a Pirate King
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (September 13, 2008)
Series: Adrien English Mysteries
1) Fatal Shadows
2) A Dangerous Thing
3) The Hell You Say
4) Death of a Pirate King
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott